Globally renowned Len Deighton novel, The Ipcress File has been adapted into a six part television series for ITV starring Joe Cole (Gangs of London, Peaky Blinders) in the iconic role of Harry Palmer alongside Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody, Murder on the Orient Express) and BAFTA award winning actor, Tom Hollander (The Night Manager, Birdbox).
Adapted by Oscar nominated and BAFTA award-winning screenwriter, John Hodge (Trainspotting, T2 Trainspotting) The Ipcress File is an enthralling and atmospheric espionage thriller set in Berlin and London during the 1960’s and Emmy award-winner James Watkins (McMafia, Black Mirror, The Woman In Black) will direct each of the 6 x 60’ episodes.
The series marks the first major production for Altitude Television, part of the larger Altitude independent British media group behind notable releases such as Amy, Moonlight, Diego Maradona, Calm With Horses, Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans, and Rocks. The series will be produced in association with ITV Studios.
The Ipcress File will be executive produced by Will Clarke (Filth) and Andy Mayson (Ghost Stories) for Altitude Television, Andrew Eaton (The Crown) for Turbine, Sandy Lieberson (Performance), James Watkins and Hilary and Steven Saltzman. The series will be produced by Paul Ritchie (McMafia, Slumdog Millionaire).
ITV Studios are providing significant financing, with other co-financiers comprising of the Liverpool Film Office, Lipsync, Filmgate and the Finnish National and Regional Funds, with Cofiloisirs Bank cashflowing. Reno Antoniades at Lee & Thompson will be handling legal.
The Ipcress File was Len Deighton’s first spy novel introducing the iconic British spy Harry Palmer and set against the backdrop of Cold War Europe. To date the novel has sold 10 million copies worldwide since it was first published in 1962.
ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill has commissioned the series from Altitude and will oversee the drama from the channel’s perspective.
I'm thrilled to be bringing John Hodge’s brilliant adaptation of such an iconic novel to ITV. Harry Palmer is an incredible part and this would have been impossible without the right actor, so we are all delighted that Joe Cole will take on the role. The talent on and off screen means this will be a treat for audiences when it comes to ITV.Polly Hill
It’s 1963. Cold war rages between West and East. Nuclear bombers are permanently airborne. In this highly charged atmosphere, we join Harry Palmer – a British army sergeant on the make in Berlin. In this newly partitioned city, a sharp working-class young man with sophisticated tastes can make a lot of money. Wholesaler, retailer, fixer, smuggler, Harry’s varied interests bring him into contact with everything and everyone – until the law catches up and it all comes crashing to a halt.
Harry finds himself sentenced to eight years in a grim military jail in England, all his prospects abruptly torn away.
But his impressive network and efficiency have not gone unnoticed, and a gentleman from British intelligence has a proposal. To avoid prison, Harry Palmer will become a spy. And the case on which he cuts his teeth will be The Ipcress File.
Harry’s links to the man suspected of kidnapping a missing British nuclear scientist result in him being conscripted for a dangerous undercover mission that takes him from the Beatles’ London to the Berlin Wall, from the back alleys of Beirut to the white hot sand of a Nuclear Atoll in the Pacific.
Altitude are delighted to be taking our first steps into Television as the company continues to grow and we are very excited to announce The Ipcress File as our debut production with our friends at ITV and ITV Studios. James Watkins and I are both huge fans of Len Deighton's Harry Palmer books and have wanted to film The Ipcress File for a long time. John Hodge’s incredible writing talents have wonderfully adapted those stories into a thrilling six-part series.Will Clarke, Chairman and Co-CEO of Altitude Film Entertainment
A twist-laden spy thriller with a rich cast of characters, The Ipcress File is a stylish and tense tale of abducted scientists, brainwashing, inter- departmental rivalry, treason, and a possibly unwise romance.
Producers Altitude Media Group are a film and television company encompassing production, finance, factual film and television, international film sales and UK and Irish distribution. The company was formed in May 2012 by Will Clarke, Andy Mayson and Mike Runagall with the remit to shape ‘creative partnerships’ with both emerging and established talents. The collaborative team oversees a distinctive slate of diverse and eclectic film and television productions.
This is a wonderful opportunity to inhabit a time when the post war world was morphing into the way we live now, when social mobility, civil rights, and modern feminism were forcing their way into public consciousness, and all of it happening with the world divided in two and both halves threatening to blow the whole thing sky highWriter and Executive Producer John Hodge